Spotlight On the Specialist Pharmacist Clinical Trials teams

A team of specialist pharmacy staff play a vital role in keeping more than 150 clinical trials running at our hospital at any one time.

They’re responsible for all clinical trials medicines from the moment they arrive in the hospital, to the moment they are given to the patient. They manage the receipt of trial medicine deliveries, ensure correct storage and temperature monitoring of drugs, dispensing and provide advice to research teams across the Trust.

The team is run by Gail Healey, Highly Specialist Pharmacist Clinical Trials, with specialist pharmacist Dorota Czerniewska and pharmacy technicians Clare Self, Melissa Crofts and senior assistant Charmaine Grimmer.

“By doing clinical trials we’re sometimes able to give a treatment option to patients who have exhausted all other treatment options available for their disease. The trial treatment may have the potential to cure disease, increase their life expectancy or quality of life, and they would not have had this option without the trial. We also work with such a great team of staff in research and pharmacy,” she Gail.

“The pharmacy role is very important, we’re here to ensure the safety of trial patients and that the trial patients receive trial medicines which have been stored appropriately and dispensed correctly in accordance with the trial protocol. There are a lot of clinical trial regulations that must be adhered to in addition to the regulations which cover non-trial medicines, and we’re here to make sure that all the requirements are met so that the data produced by the clinical trial is as robust and reliable as possible.”

The specialist pharmacists and technicians work to tight deadlines and played an integral role during the pandemic by being involved in the Novovax Covid-19 vaccine study, which recruited more than 500 participants. RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP studies also evaluated treatments on the wards and in the critical care complex to treat Covid-19. Away from the pandemic, they recruited the most patients to PARADISE-MI which looked at a new drug treatment for patients after they had a myocardial infarction to help reduce the risk of heart failure.

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